Traveling between Delos and Berlin: Heidegger and Celan on the Topography of "What Remains"

by Todd Samuel Presner
Traveling between Delos and Berlin: Heidegger and Celan on the Topography of "What Remains"
Todd Samuel Presner
The German Quarterly
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Stanford University

Traveling between Delos and Berlin: Heidegger and Celan on the Topography of "What Remains"

"Look at the road," one Jew says to another,"becauseitlinkspasttofuture and, theotherwayround,future to past-asif there were still a past after the futurebut lookalsoat the hopetougher than life that one day there could reappear out of the blackbottomofmiseryacorner,abit ofblue sky." (Jabes 69)

I. The Anhalter Bahnhof in the Space of Berlin's Present

As the first major long-distance railway line to open in a German state, the from Cracowin1938.Formore thanacentury, the station became a transformative symbol of Berlin's modernity; and even in its present ruin, it is still a witness to both the volatility of the twentieth century and the hopes and fears of the nineteenth.

Anhalter Bahnhof has always had more L......-.....:

thanjustanincidentalconnectionto the 1iII~~

city of Berlin and its liminal geography

as a point of entry to eastern, western,

and southern Europe. Walter Benjamin

certainly recognized this when he im-Figure 1. Anhalter Bahnhof, 1881. Photo courtesy

mortalized the railway station's great-ofLandesarchivBerlin.

ness, scale, and technological significance in recollecting his childhood in Berlin:

Der "Anhalter" laut des Namens Mutterhohleder Eisenbahnen,wodieLokomotiyen zu Hause sein und die Ziige anhalten muBten. Keine Ferne war ferner, als wo im Nebel seine Gleise zusammenliefen.

(Berliner Kindheit 94)

To Benjamin, the Anhalter was the material reality of a marvelous nineteenth-century dream and the historical possibility of connecting to a faraway place. It was where Kafka arrived from Praguewhen he visited Felice Bauer in Berlin; it is also where Celan arrived on his way to Paris

On September 1, 1840, the first part of the railway line that would connect Berlin to the German state of Anhalt was opened between Dessau and Kothen by the directors of the Berlin-Anhaltische Eisenbahn Gesellschaft (Bley;Knothe).BySeptember of the following year, the construction of Berlin's Anhalter Bahnhofwas completed and daily service began running to Kothen via Wittenberg, Coswig, and Dessau. The line, which connected Prussia and Anhalt, was the longest railway line in any German state at the time, stretching more than 150 kilometers. Shortly after German unification, the original Anhalter station, de-

The German Quarterly 74.4 (Fal1200l) 417

signed and built between 1838 and 1841, was rebuilt on a colossal scale and reopened to the public in 1880. At the time, the new buildingwas one ofthe largestterminal railway stations in the world, measuring 170 meters long, 60 meters wide, and nearly 35 meters high at its apex (Bley 51-53) . The cost of rebuilding the entire station was unprecedented in railway history, totaling more than fourteen million marks (Bley 52).

some four decades later, the ruins of the north portal still face the barren landscape where its great hall once stood, now marked out by a simple memorial rectangle of trees. Broken train tracks from the station still lead south out ofthe city,but they are overgrown byyearsofvegetation andhave recently begun to be removed by the city of Berlin.'

In its more than 120-year history . and some forty-year posthistory, the

FIgure 2. Anhalter Bahnhof, 1989. Photo courtesy of Anhalt Bah h f d b th

Landesarchiv Berlin.

Adding to its mythological proportions, a gigantic underground passageway connecting the train station to the luxurious Hotel Excelsioracrossthe streetwasopened in 1928. Guests arriving at the Anhalter station could walk to a doorway at the end of the platform, take an elevator downstairs, stroll through the "grolstelrl Hoteltunnel der Welt," shop around the clock in the underground retail stores, and emerge 80 meters away in the lobby of the largest hotel on the continent, the Excelsior. Analogous to the arcades of Paris in the 19th century, this 20th century passageway was a hub of capitalist culture, a dream place of modernity. But by the 1930s, the Anhalter Bahnhof had turned into an ''Abschiedsbahnhof" with a "Triinengleis" because more than 3,000 Jewish children were sent south out of Germany by their parents from this station (Roik-Bogner 63-65). Af

ter 1939, Jews still remaining in Berlin were thereafter unable to flee. Beginning on October 18,1941, a total of180 "Sonderziige" left Berlin, almost all from Anhalter Bahnhofand Grunewald Bahnhofto gathering points in Germany and concentration camps in the East. Trains last serviced the station nearly five decades ago and it was permanently closed on May 17, 1952. After much debate, with the exception of part oftheAnhalter's north portal,the station was finally razed in 1961. Today,

er n 0 e~erge .as 0 a product of and paradigmatic symbol for Germany's modernity. In its built forms one can discern the emergence of Prussian expansionism, the national hopes invested in a unified Germany, the primacy placed on transcendent size and speed, the possibility and reality of a globally linked world, and this world's destructive capacities . The remains of the Anhalter's main portal and the dilapidated railway tracks leading out of Berlin are the remains of a dream and a nightmare called modernity. As a deeply stratified site of memory, the remains of the station and its tracks to nowhere are ajarring, strange presence in the newly constructed landscape of a reunified Berlin. How exactly do such remains contribute to the production of present-day memory? Are remains more than just "disruptive" forces, or are they important precisely because they disrupt or haunt the integrity of a given present? Are the material

remains even necessary for practices of memory, and, if not, what does it mean to dispose of remains? In what follows, I want to explore how Heidegger and Celan pose answers to these questions by examining the production of memory in their own accounts of material topographies in post1945 Europe. I will perform a careful reading of two autobiographical travel narratives-both written in 1962, one on a ship and the other on a train-in which the "Denker" and the "Dichter" attempt to forge, in their different ways, a relationship between remains and the production of memory after the Holocaust. Both Heidegger and Celan attempt to articulate how the encounter with the remains of a physical place and the recollection of the past come together to form a present "site of memory." Heidegger seeks the groundedness of a German-Greek nationality in Delos in order to preserve memory, whereas Celan turns to the "no-places" of mobility, particularly the ruins of the Anhalter Bahnhof As both Celan and Heidegger indicate in their very divergent ways, the existence of "remains" raises critical questions for any memorial or historical practice forged "after" the disaster, particularly questions of what exactly, if anything, should be done with the material pieces of thepastandhow "sitesofmemory"emerge

and are valued as such.?

II. Heidegger's Home-Comings and Celan's No-Places

In 1962, both Heidegger and Celan took trips which they subsequently (in their very separate ways) described in terms of the memory of and present encounter with remains. Heidegger took a trip to Greece, the only one he ever took in his lifetime, in order, as he says, to confirm that his "Denkweg" was no "Irrweg" (H 3).3 His autobiographical reflections-written in 1962, but not published until 1989-are those of the "Denker," constantly invoking the "Dichter" (not Celan, but rather Holderlin) as he moves through, and briefly stays over at, various Greek islands. The reflections are appropriatelyentitled ''Aufenthalte.'' Also, during the same year, Celan took a trip to Nyon, Switzerland, where he composed an important poem entitled "La Contrescarpe."4 It is a deeply personal poem, in some ways like Heidegger's autobiographical-intellectual journey, but in other ways quite different in its urgency. Celan, too, makes references to Holderlin, and his poem, much like Heidegger'sjourney undertaken in the present into his past, is also a present journey for Celan into his past. Celan's poem is a "Denkweg," so to speak, but as we will see, in marking his personal "Umwege" through Eastern Europe, Berlin, and, finally, Paris, Celan values the "sites" of a different kind of memory. In moving away from, back to, and through Germany, Heidegger and Celan both attempt to think-through what and where

memory can be after the Holocaust.

Heidegger'sjourneywas motivatedbya wish to confirm his idea of ancient Greece: He wants to go to the geographic originthe "Ursprung," meaning for Heidegger both the beginning and the primal leap into the past via the future-but fears being disappointed by what he might find. His topographical reflections begin by quoting the fourth strophe of Holderlin's poem, "Brot und Wein," as he wonders why Holderlin did not need to take such a trip to Greece:

Aber die Thronen, wo? die Tempel, und wo die GefaBe, Wo mit Nectar gefiillt, GOttern zu Lust der Gesang? Wo, wo leuchten sie denn, die fernhintreffenden Spriiche? Delphi schlummert und wo tonet <las groBe Geschick?" (qtd. in H 4).

Heidegger wants to know where the remains of his idea of ancient Greece are to be found. But his journey is not motivated by an attempt to find just any thrones and temples, any old songs and oracles, but rather those which speak to a certain way of being, now lost. We might say that his trip is actually motivated by a line just before the ones he quotes from Holderlin's poem, a line he decides not to cite in his autobiographical reflections: "Seeliges Griechenland! du Haus der Himmlischen alle,/ Also ist wahr, was einst wir in der Jugend gehort?"5 Quite unlike other travel journeys predicated on the discovery of the unknown and the encounterwith the foreign, such as Goethe's Italienische Reise, to which Heidegger makes passing reference, Heideggeris undertakingavoyage of confirmation. He already knows what he wants to find in Greece and essentially seeks to verify the truth of his pathway of thinkingby movingthroughitspresentremains.

To do so, accompanied by his wife who painted three pictures of the Greek coast along the way;he took an organized cruise on a "modernelsl Motorschiff" (H 4). The first stop was Corfu. But Heidegger-surprised and a little nervous-tells us that Corfu doesn't look like it should: "Doch war es schon Griechenland? Das Geahnte und Erwartete ershien nicht. [...JAllesglich ehereineritalienischenLandschaft" (H 5). Greece looks like Italy, and he wonders how Goethe could have possibly experienced "Greece" while journeying through Sicily;for not even Greece looks Greek. The next stop was Ithaca, but even it doesn't look like he expected it to look, and his doubts increase. From there, via Pyrgos he takes an ''Autobus'' to Olympia but only discovers "ein schmuckloses Dorf" with newly built American tourist hotels (H 7). He is unimpressed by the museums and once again thinks the ruined temples and other remains could just have likely been found in Italy. As the journey goes on (he visits the Gulf of Corinth, but decides to stayontheship;heforgoes seeingtheAcropolis; Crete doesn't appear Greek to him), he becomes more and more disappointed with present-day Greece. "Moderne Technik" and theomnipresentlevelingpowerof technology are probably to blame: "Angesichts dieser Weltlage ist das Andenken an das Eigene des Griechentums eine weltfremde Beschaftigung, So scheint es wenigstens" (H 16). The "Andenken" of what is special about Greece can no longer take place today because of the uprootedness causedby technology; theexperienceofthe Greek topography in 1962 is entirely alien to Heidegger's idea of ancient Greece.

But when the traveling philosopher finally disembarks at the island of Delos, everything has changed: The little island is scarcely populated and is, instead, covered by ruins oftemples and otherarchitectural remains. No American tourist traps, no modern technology (save the cruise ship he arrived on). Heidegger is quick to point out that the name of the island means "die Offenbare, die Scheinende" (H 19) and it is the place where he experiences the truth of Greekbeing. Delos is both"Ursprung" and "Heimat" for Heidegger, the manifestation of aletheia. Delos, he says, is where ''Alles Dichten und Denken ist im voraus von ihr angeblickt" (H 20). Theislandis characterized by its purity; and he experiences a "heimischeln] Aufenthalt," uncorrupted by any sort of "rechnendes Denken" (H 23) from the modern world." As an origin in the future, it is both the time before and the time after "Seinsverlassenheit," a loss of being that he persistently sought to overcome at least since theBriefuberden Humanismus (1946). For Heidegger, the island turns "Denken zum Andenken" because it offers the closeness of the ground and preserves the rootedness of place. This is precisely the idea of memory that he articulated in his 1955 commemoration speech for the German composer Conradin Kreutzer, deliveredon thecomposer's 175thbirthday: In both discourses on memory, Heidegger establishes the importance of "Bodenstandigkeit" for any true memorial practice: "Andenken" is necessarily grounded in a place, in the native soil, and is hence intimately connected with "Ortschaft" and "SeBhaftigkeit" (H 27). It is in this respect thatthe Greeks havecreateda world (H 27) that he seeks to return to via the topography of its present remains.

At the conclusion ofhis journey through Greece, Heidegger leaves satisfied, having found "die gesuchte Bewahrung" (H 21) but not without first turning the memory of Delos into a decidedly German task of overcomingthetechnologically caused"loss of being." As he returns to Germany; he quotes the final strophe of'Holderlin's "Gesang des Deutschen":

Wo ist dein Delos, wo dein Olympia,

daB wir uns alle finden am hochsten Fest?

Doch wie errath der Sohn, was du den

Deinen, Unsterbliche, langst bereitest?"

(H 34)

Upon turning back, his departure from Greece also becomes his arrival in Germany: Heidegger's Delos is the recovery of and return to an origin tied to the specificity of the German nation. By coming full circle, "[der] Abschied von ihm [Griechenland] wurde zu seiner Ankunft" (H 33). For Heidegger, it is the poets and the thinkers who mark-out the path where leave-taking and arrival-Germany and Greece, Greece and Germany-become the same. In 1962, Heidegger'sjourney of memory was a roundtrip between the Greek origin and the German nation.

Let me now turn to Celan's poem, "La Contrescarpe." The fifty-one line poem was published the year after it was written, as oneofthelastpoems in the1963collection, Die Niemandsrose. It concerns, at least in part, a trip Celan took to Switzerland in 1962; however, it is also the condensation of many separate travels taken by Celan since 1938-some willingly; some by the force of circumstance. Rather than give a line-by-line exegesis, I want to pay particular attention to the complex ways in which Celan figures the relationship between place, time, and memory in this poem. As we will see, Celan's movement-primarily by railway-through the topography of Europe produces quite a different practice ofmemory than the confirmedpathways of thought pursued by Heidegger in his sea voyage to Greece.

If we pause on some of the key words in the first lines of the poem, one certainly hears an echo of the topography of Greece as thought and poeticized by Heidegger and Holderlin, Celan writes:

an der Kehre, wo er dem Brotpfeil begegnet, der den Wein seiner Nacht trank, den Wein der Elends-, der Konigsvigilie" (lines 9-13).

Words like "Brotpfeil" and "Wein" are not only clear allusions to the Eucharist, an embodied ritual of memory, but also allusions to the same Holderlin poem that Heidegger used to begin and justify his own journeythroughGreece. However,Celan's reasons for travelingas well as his encounters with and descriptions of topography are quite distant and distinct from those of Heidegger. The term "Kehre"-astaple in Heideggerian reflections on Greece, always taking on the form of a "Riickkehre" in his discussions of Holderliri's poems, such as "Heimkunft" and ''Andenken''-is for Celan connected to a different kind of movement: not a return to a past origin via afuturepathwayor acircularjourney; but rather a "Gegenverkehr" and "Umkehre" in the space ofthe present. In both his Bremen Speech and Meridian Speech, as well as in the newly-published collection of notes he made for the latter, Celan imagines a kind ofcounter-movement, far from Heidegger's doubled return to the Greek origin and the German nation. Celan is moving in a different direction, on different sites, against the unidirectional "flow" of history in order draw out the complex sedimentation of topography: It is a practice of memory intimately connected to marking, calling forth, and living with "disjunctures" in time and space (Eshel,

Zeit der Zasur).

In his notes for the Meridian speech of 1960, Celan characterized a poem as a "Wortlandschaft" or topography composed of language (Celan, Endfassung 102).7 The word-landscapein"La Contrescarpe" moves from a street in Nyon, "Herzbuckelweg," to the spaces of Greek mythology, to the memory of the train trip Celan first took to Paris, via Cracow and Berlinin 1938. These topographical points along his circuitous route make up the second to last, eighteen-line strophe, which is indented from the rest of the poem. These first ten lines read as follows:

Uber Krakau

bist du gekommen, am Anhalter


floB deinen Blick ein Rauch zu,

der war schon von morgen. Unter


sahst du die Messer stehn, wieder,

scharf von Entfernung. Es wurde

getanzt. (~atorze

juillets. Et plus de neuf autres.)

(lines 29-38).

Moving from East to West via Cracow, Celan arrives at Berlin's Anhalter train station duringReichskristallnacht. He sees smoke, possibly the train's smoke mixing with the smoke of burning Jewish synagogues and stores. His journey continues to Paris, and in the poem the temporal distance separating this first journey and the journey of 1962 is figured in French as "fourteen Julys. And nine more." In other words, counting from November 1938, adding fourteen years beginning with the next July of 1939 and nine more, we arrive at the present, 1962. But another date is hidden here, namely the date of Celan's exile to Paris, July 14, 1948, Bastille daycelebrated by "Es wurde getanzt" and marked in the poem by the inversion of'~uillet Quatorze." As a practice ofmemory, the word-landscape is saturated with spatial and temporal disjunctures.

This layered temporality refuses both any kind of circularity; such as a return to an origin, and also anylinearity, such as the spatialization of historical time. Celan is not interested in marking the passage of time in order to "commemorate" the past as a unit of distance; nor is he concerned with collecting pieces of the past-the "Souvenirchen" (line 44), as he diminutively calls the assembly of remains-into something coherent or whole again. Rather his journey is an encounter in the present with the temporally-stratified materiality of space; it is ajourney of memory as a kind of poetic vigil of what can be told about "what remains."

As a word-landscape composed in the disjointed space and time of the present, his poem is a form of language which is not motivated by or dependent upon conventionalpoetic tropes suchas "metaphors" or "synonyms," let alone the production of "art"or "representation," butratherbythe reality of present remains, both material and linguistic." Unlike Heidegger's topographical journey of memorial confirmation, Celan's practice of "Toposforschung," as he famously called it in his Meridian Speech, is not carried out by the localization of place (Ortschaft, Heimat, SeBhaftigkeit), butrather "im Lichte derU-topie" (M 199). The no-places that Celan finds are the destroyed and now largely non-existent places of his own heritage, the landscapes once inhabited by Eastern European Jews like Reinhold Lenz, Karl Emil Franzos, and Georg Buchner: "Keiner dieser Orte ist zu finden, es gibt sie nicht" (M 202). These places are not approachable in thesenseofa returnto anoriginbutonly as temporally-layered topographical memories, in the same way that an "unruhigelr] Finger" points to a "Kinder-Landkarte" (M 202). Reworking Heidegger's insistence on "Riickkehre," Celan calls these "Wege" and "Um-Wege," "Eine Art Heimkehr" (M201) because-at least in Europe

-there is no Jewish Delos to return to.

This is in marked contrast to the philosopher of memory, for whom the task of the poet is to mark-out the path home, the return to the origin. Heidegger articulates this quite clearly in his explication of Holderlin's poem "Heimkunft": "Der Beruf des Dichters ist die Heimkunft, durch die erst die Heimat als das Land der Nahe zum Ursprung bereitet wird" (Heidegger,Gesamtausgabe 4: 28). According to Heidegger, the task of the poet is to elucidate a pathway to a past origin that lies in the future. In effect, poets not only illuminate the way to the "Heimat" (an originary place that can be found again) but also a return to a way of being (an originary rootedness). As F6ti andAllemann have shown with respect to Heidegger's interpretation of Holderlin's poems "Der Ister" and ''Andenken,"his concern restsupontheillumination of "the destinal mandate of Germania."? His "vaterlandische Umkehr" (qtd. in F6ti 47--48) seeks to overcome the uprootedness of modernity by returning-in this case, via ship-to the ground of the German-Greekhomeland. This is precisely why Celan is suspicious of Heidegger's insistence on originary rootedness: Celan's practiceof"Toposforschung" is notgrounded in the locality of a country or homeland because "SeBhaftigkeit," "Ortschaft," and "Ursprung" are all too easily connected with the violent nationalization of place. Heidegger's desire to turn the idealizedorigin of ancient Greece into a future Germania is thus quite different from Celan's desire for a "Toposforschung" undertaken in the light of utopia: A no-place cannot, by its very definition, be nationalized.'?

For Celan, then, the localization of place is thus less important than the "Wege" in which topographies are experienced as sites of memory. The practice of memory is forged through the relationship between the created "Wortlandschaft" of the poem and the movement over a historically-layered topography. To show this, I want to focus on two figures in the poem: the first being the military structure of the contrescarpe and the second being the overdetermined sign for the dialectic of modernity, namely the ruined no-place of Berlin's Anhalter Bahnhof

Celan's poem is suffused with military references, not least of all from the title, which refers to a strategically sloping wall, positioned in such a way as to prevent movement. A contrescarpe is generally built on land in order to prevent entry into a stronghold or military fortification. But Celan connects two kinds of movement to thismartialfigure ofimmobilization:movement through the air by carrier pigeons and movement over sea. Celan writes: "Scherte die Brieftaube aus, war ihr Ring! zuentziffern?(Alldas/Gewolkurn sie heres war lesbar.)" (lines 20-22). Carrier pigeons were of course used for military communication, and, in order not to reveal their national identity, they had decodable identity "rings." The point is less the content of the letter transported by the pigeon and more the fact that the "ring" is still legible. It was clear where the bird came from. Four lines later, a message bleeds from the bulkhead of a ship: "Durch die Schotten/ blutet die Botschaft, Verjahrtes/geht jung tiber Bord" (lines 2~28). Here, the message is literally "yeared," that is to say, its statute of limitations is up. The message has expired. In other words, too much time has passed to still prosecute for past crimes. Altogether, then, Celan moves from the foilingof movement, to the place of a message, to the expiration of historical content. Just as he cautioned in the Meridian notes that "Schwarze Milch der Fruhe [... ] ist keine Metapher, sondern [... ] das ist Wirklichkeit" (Celan, Endfassung 158), anallegorical or metaphorical reading is not necessary here. The historical reality is that the Eichmann trial took place the year before, in Jerusalem in 1961, and the Auschwitz trials began the year after, in Frankfurt in 1963.

Precisely for this reason, Celan presents a temporally layered topography; in which time is not spatialized as the progressive marking of a distance covered or span elapsed. This kind of spatialized time renders events like the Holocaust as "far away;" able to be safely commemorated by periodic anniversaries because the crimes have since become "verjahrt." The topographical remains and the word-landscapes that Celan encounters on moving trains are thus not about securing the nationality ofplace,noraboutthereturnto thegroundedness of being, nor about the remoteness of times past and long-gone. Instead, he is interested in the poem, as he calls it in his Meridian notes, as a kind of "Begegnung" (M 198)-a relationship or encounterwith remains in the present (cf Eshel, "Celan's PoEthics").

In "La Contrescarpe," the dominant figure of present remains is the gigantic, bombed-out ruins of Berlin's legendary Anhalter Bahnhof The train station was razed in 1960-1961, leaving behind only a small part of its entry portal, perhaps as a kind a testament to another time. Ai:,Celan knew and experienced first-hand, Berlin's Anhalter was one of the most important train stationsin Europe, the centralarrival and departure point to Prague, Vienna, and other southern and eastern destinations. When Celan first arrived at the Anhalter in 1938, it was world-renowned as one of the most modern, most opulent, most efficient, and largest railway stations in Europe; but by 1962, it had become a no-place, with only its ruined entryway and tracks to no-where testifyingto its past glory and horror. Once again, Celan is not interested in artistics and metaphorical language, but rather the poem as a real "Wortlandschaft" and possibility for historical encounter. The topographical remains and language tracks-here, literal train stations and railway tracks-are not metaphors standing for or standing across from some originary place of figurative unity, wholeness, or presence. The point is not representation; it is also not origin.

Das Gedicht ist der Ort, wo aIle Synonymik [...] aufgehort; wo aIle Tropen [... ] ad absurdum gefuhrt werden; das Gedicht hat [...] einen antimetaphorischen Charakter" (Celan,Endfassung 125).

Instead, Celan's poems are concerned with the "hier" and 'aetzt," the "Orte" and "Stunde" of present remains (Endfassung93, 132). The word-landscapes are as "real" as the physical landscapes: Both are dialogical sites of memory.

III. Material and Linguistic Sites of Memory

Ai:,both Celan and Heidegger indicated in their very divergent ways, the existence of "remains" thus raises difficult questions about the viability of material pieces of the past and how "sites of memory" become created and valued as such. Let me conclude by turning back, so to speak, to the practices of memory in Celan and Heidegger. For Celan, places, people, buildings, landscapes, and languages, which have fallen into a kind of "Geschichtslosigkeit" in the wake of the Holocaust are not redeemed by returning to an ethos of national dwelling or rootedness but only encountered in the disjointed present as partial landscapes of material and linguistic remains (Celan, "Bremen" 185). Celan's "Gesprache im Gebirg" might be understood precisely along these lines. The "conversation" is an encounter between two languages, German and Yiddish, and two Jews, one "groB" and one "klein," who meet somewhere in the mountains to discuss what being Jewish might mean in 1959. The topography in which they encounter one another is impossible to "nationalize" or even locate in terms of a geographic rootedness (something Heidegger always demanded). Not unlike Heine's linguistic doublings, Celan's slippage between the "Germanization" of Yiddish and the "Yiddishization" of German yields a "word-landscape" as a present site ofmemory:

ich bin dir begegnet, hier, und geredet haben wir, viel, und die Falten dort, du weiBt, nicht fur die Menschen sind sie da und nicht fur uns, die wir hier gingen und einander trafen, wir hier unterm Stern, wir, die Juden, die da kamen, wie Lenz, durchs Gebirg, du GroB und ich Klein, du, der Geschwatzige, und ich, der Geschwatzige, wir mit den Stocken, wir mit unsern Namen, den unaussprechlichen, wir mit unserm Schatten, dem eigenen und dem fremden, du hier und ich hier-ich hier, ich; ich, der ich dir all das sagen kann, sagen hatt konnen, C'Gesprache im Gebirg" 172-73)

In this chatty encounter, the two Jews with unpronounceable names produce a site of memory not by means of marking "nationality" or searching for "origins" but through the mixing of languages under the borderless no-place of the stars. It is a practice of writing the memory of the disaster.

For Celan, topographies-whether the physical remains of Berlin's Anhalter train stationor thelinguisticword-landscapesof the poem-present possible "Wege, Umwege [...] zu dir" (M 201) and, hence, can participate in a dialogical ethics ofmemory. Not only; then, does Celan condemn the "Du-Latenz," the "Dulosigkeit" (Endfassung 145)ofthephilosopherofmemory; he also rejects the grounding of language in the space of the nation or the rootedness of the homeland. Moreover, he is not interestedin a kindofpoetry thatpursuesmetaphoricallikenesses. A poem is not to be understood as figuring or representing somethingelse, suchas theAnhalterBahnhofor Reichskristallnacht; instead, "das Gedicht bleibt immer eine Erscheinungsform der Sprache," a phenomenal form of "Gegenwartigkeit" and "Gegenstandigkeit"-that is to say; a word-landscape (Celan, Endfassung 96). The poem, like the ruined railway station, leaves behind its own "language tracks," the reality of its topographical remains encountering a present "Du." Quite unlike Heidegger's return to "sites ofmemory" for the sake of the nationalization of place, Celan's "Toposforschung" is a practice of memory as a kind ofrelational encounter with the disjointed space of remains in the present.

In sum, it is not even necessary to confront Heidegger's most infamous "forgetting" of the Holocaust-that is, his infamous "agriculture" remark of 1949-to see how differently the priorities of memory functioned after 1945 for the philosopher.'! Nor is it necessary to scour Heidegger's prewar, interwar, and postwar philosophy in search ofevidence to exonerate or convict the philosopheron charges of Nazism.P Heidegger, in fact, had lots to say about how modern technology uprooted peoples, jeopardized meditative thinking, and endangeredtrue memory: "Die Bodenstiindigheit des heutigen Menschen ist im Innersten bedroht" (Gelassenheit 16; Heidegger's italics). He believed that the very concept of human being had changed in modernity, and that being itself had been lost [Seinsverlassenheit] with the destruction of the "Bodenstdndigkeit" of place. In the atomic age, as Heidegger calls it,

Viele deutsche Menschen haben ihre Heimat verloren, muBten ihre Dorfer und Stadte verlassen, sind vom heimatlichen Boden Vertriebene. Zahllose andere, denen die Heimat gerettet blieb, wandern gleichwohl ab, geraten in das Getriebe der groBen Stadte, mussen in der Ode der Industriebezirke sich ansiedeln. Sie sind der alten Heimat entfremdet. (Gelassenheit15).13

The industrialization of the world, the mass death of two World Wars, the destruction of the Eastern Front, the loss of the German homeland, the atomic bomb, the ''Americanization'' of Europe-these are only the most recent disasters that Heidegger cited time and again.14

But the point for Heidegger is not the memory of these disasters, as they are all functionally equivalent for him; rather the very possibility of memory is threatenedby the disaster, which for him is subsumedunder another problem, namely, the loss of (Greek) being. That is to say,because these disasters have forced people from their homeland, from the stability and nationality of the ground, memory-which is intimately a grounded, national, and rooted kind of thinking and being-is also threatened. This is why he ends his memorial speech with a call to renewing, in this "verandertels] Zeitalter," something that Johann Peter Hebel once said: "Wir sind Pflanzen, die-wir mogen's uns gerne gestehen oder nicht-mit den Wurzeln aus der Erde steigen mussen, urn im Ather bluhen und Fruchte tragen zu konnen" (Heidegger, Gelassenheit 26). Heidegger desires more than anything to secure the stability, fertility, andnationalityoftheground-for the sake of memory. This is also the same sentiment expressed earlier in the "Brief tiber den Humanismus": "Die Heimatlosigkeit des neuzeitlichen Menschen" can only be overcome by a return to dwelling, a connection to the land, "als die Furchen, die der Landmann langsamen Schrittes durch das Feld zieht" (338, 364). And it is the same reason why Heidegger's poets-whether Holderlin, Trakl, or Rilke-elucidate the pathway back home, to the ground.

Memory and the disaster are thus completelyincompatible, antitheticaltermsfor Heidegger: Thereis no writingthememory ofthe disaster because it is the uprootingof the disaster itself which nullifies memory. Memory is always connected with the rootedness of place, the recovery of the "Ortschaft," "SeBhaftigkeit," and "Ursprung." The task of the poets-"those who remember"-is to help guide the philosophers safely back home. This is why he ends his own travel narrative by highlighting the question of nationality posed by Holderlin in his "Gesang des Deutschen": "Wo ist dein Delos?" and not, "Wo ist dein Auschwitz?" Memory demands an originary place, a home to return to-not the destruction of place, mass death, and the inability to go home.

Celan's "Toposforschung" is, indeed, somewhere else. The writing of the memory of the disaster is an encounter, in the simultaneously non-simultaneous space of the present, with what remains. On the train, heading East to West in 1938 and West to East in 1962, Celan is never heading"home." His encounters are not nationally-grounded or even about the desirability of finding ground; they are carried out "im Lichte der U-topie" and, in this respect, presenta very different kind ofhomecomingthan Heidegger's grounded sites of memory. Celan both begins and ends with, departs from and returns to the remains of a no-place. These are the remains of language and the remains of modernity: poetry and Berlin's Anhalter Bahnhof, after the Holocaust. Both the word-landscapes and the physical landscapes are deeply ambivalent sites of memory, no-places of hope and horror, which we can still encounter in our own "here" and "now."

There is a single line about Kepler in the notes that Celan composed for his "Meridian Speech": "Kepler: von einem neuen Stern getraumt" (Celan, Endfassung 53). Perhaps Celan composed word-landscapes while dreaming, too, of a new star, under a bitofblueskyButhe movedonthisground, amongthese remains, andbreathed this air -forthere was nowhere else to return to.


"I'he city of Berlin recently decided that the Anhalter land, having been empty for decades, would now be used as the permanent home of "Tempodrom," a world-famous, international musical theatre and cultural festival. Construction is currently underway between the remains of the Anhalter portal and the ruined train tracks, and the new building is scheduled to be finished in early 2002.

2 In 1987, the site of the Anhalter was used for one of the most extensive 750th anniversary exhibitions to commemorate the founding of the city of Berlin. The exhibition was entitled"Mythos Berlin" and raised many questions in the public consciousness about the viability of the material remains of the past. Cf. the catalogue, Mythos Berlin: Eine szenische Ausstellung aufdem Anhalter Bahnhof.

3 This and further references to Heidegger's Aufenthalte will be cited parenthetically with H, followedby thepage number. Paginationisin accordance with Heidegger's hand-numbered pages.

4 Celan's poem was first published in the collection, DieNiemandsrose (8D-81).Thepoem is dated September 19, 1962. For biographical details, I am particularly indebted to Jean-Marie Winkler's interpretation of the poem in Kommentar zu Paul Celans "Die Niemandsrose,"

ed. Jiirgen Lehmann (331-39). 5 Friedrich Holderlin, "Brot und Wein" (Strophe 4) 116.

6 Heidegger is callingon a distinction that he articulated most clearly in his 1955 memorial speech (published as Gelassenheit in 1959). "Rechnendes Denken" is technological in nature because it seeks to quantify thought into stable units or objects. "Besinnliches Denken," on the other hand, is characterized as "Gelassenheit" and associated with opening the world up to mystery and "Andenken."

7 References to the Meridian Speech will be cited parentheticallyas M, followed by the page number; references to the 1999 edition will be cited parenthetically as Endfassung, followed by the page number.

S Celan's "Der Meridian" (October 22, 1960) is the most pointed rejection of poetry as a kind of "Kunst" or mere practice of representation. Accordingto Celan, the poem is not an attempt to mimic a reality "out there" as an "Affengestalt" (M192) butisitselfrealityby virtueof its sedimented time and space as well as by virtue of its relational or ethical dimension.

9 Heidegger, Gesamtausgabe. Vol. 4 ("Andenken") and Vol. 53 ("Der Ister"), Veronique

M. F6ti, Heidegger and the Poets, 47; Beda Allemann, Holderlin und Heidegger.

10 Celan's engagement with Heidegger's work is well documented. Although it is not certain how much of Celan's work Heidegger knew, Otto Poggeler gave Heidegger a copy of Celan's "Meridian Speech" in April 1961, and Celan paid Heidegger two visits, in which he gave the philosophercopies ofhis poetry. Celan famously commemorated his last visit in the poem "Todtnauberg" (1967),in which he hopes "auf eines Denkenden / kommendes (un-/ gesaumt kommendes) / Wort / im Herzen" of the thinker about theHolocaust. The literatureon the Heidegger-Celan relationship is immense. Some of the key texts include Otto Poggeler's Spur des Wortes: Zur Lyrik Paul Celans, and, more recently, his Heidegger in seiner Zeit;Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, La Poesie comme experience;Christopher Fynsk, Language and Relation ... that there is language, Ch. 4.

11In writing, it is known that Heidegger alluded to or mentioned the Nazi concentration camps twice. The first comes in a 1948 response Heidegger sent to Herbert Marcuse on the charge that his philosophy "mit einem Regimeidentifizierthat, dasMillionenmeinerGlaubensgenossenin die Gaskammergeschickt hat." Heidegger writes that he has "nur hinzufiigen, daB statt 'Juden' 'Ostdeutsche' zu stehen hat unddanngenau sogilt fureinen derAlliierten, mit dem Unterschied, daB alles, was seit 1945 geschieht, der Weltoffentlichkeit bekannt ist, wahrend der blutige Terror der Nazis vor dem deutschen Volk tatsachlich geheim gehalten worden ist" (qtd. in: Hugo Ott, Martin Heidegger: Unterwegs zu seiner BiographieI85-86).

The other mention comes in a version of his

second Bremen lecture of December 1, 1949:

"Ackerbau ist jetzt eine motorisierte Ernah

rungsindustrie, im Wesen dasselbe wie die Fa

brikation von Leichen in Gaskammern und

Vernichtungslagern, dasselbe wie die Block

ade undAushungerungvon Landern, dasselbe

wie die Fabrikation von Wasserstoflbomben"

(qtd. in Victor Farias, Heidegger und der Na

tionalsozialismus 376).

12Of course, there has emerged a sort of cottage industry around Heidegger scholarship dedicated to precisely this task. Spurred by Victor Farias' Heidegger und der Nationalsozialismus (originally published in French in 1987), two of the earliest and most critical engagements with Heidegger's work were undertaken by Jacques Derrida and -Iean-Francois Lyotard, Of Spirit and Heidegger and "the jews, " respectively. Derridabelieves Heidegger realized the error of his way in his post-1945 work, and tries to show through an elegantbut in my opinion, ultimately, unsatisfying and sometimes forced-argument that Heidegger himself performed the necessary "deconstruction." For more recent accounts, cf. Berel Lang, Heidegger's Silence and Hans Sluga, Heidegger's Crisis.

13 Ibid., 15. A little later in the memorial speech, Heidegger even laments how "z. B. der Ackerbau und die Landwirtschaft zur motorisierten Ernahrungsindustrie wird" (23). By 1955, he hasalreadycutoutthememoryof"die Fabrikation von Leichen in Gaskammern und Vernichtungslagern."

14 In the "Briefiiber den Humanismus," Heidegger writes that young Germans who knew Holderlin's poetry (such as "Heimkunft") died for somethingmuch greaterthan the waritself; they died for the sake of overcoming "Seinsverlassenheit" (339). Heidegger mentions the destructive potential of the atomic bomb numerous times in his writings about poetry and the possibility of dwelling after 1945 (cf Gelassenheit, 16-17, 20-21). In "Das Ding" he writes:

DerMenschstarrtaufdas, was mitderExplosion der Atombombe kommen konnte, Der Mensch sieht nicht, was lang schon angekommen ist und zwar geschehen ist als das, was nur noch als seinen letzten AuswurfdieAtombombe[... Jaussich hinauswirft, [... Jundwas geniigenkonnte,urn alles Leben auf der Erde auszuloschen.


Among other places, his disgust with the "Americanization" of the world is mentioned in Aufenthalte (H 8) and in 'TIer Ister": [der Amerikanismus ist] ist entschlossen, Europa, und d.h. die Heimat[...Jzuvernichten. [...JDer EintrittAmerikas in diesen planetarischen Krieg ist nicht der Eintritt in die Geschichte, sondern ist bereits schon der letzte amerikanische Akt der Amerikanischen Geschichtslosigkeit und Selbstverwustung" (Gesamtasugabe 4: 68).

Works Cited

Allemann Beda. Holderlin und Heidegger. Zurich: Atlantis, 1954.

Benjamin, Walter. Berliner Kindheit um Neunzehnhundert. Frankfurta.M.:Suhrkamp, 1992. Bley; Peter. 150 Jahre Berlin-Anhaltische Eisen

bahn. DUsseldorf: Alba, 1990.

Celan, Paul. Der Meridian: Endfassung, Entunirfe, Materialen. Tiibinger Ausgabe. Ed. Bernhard Boschenstein and Heino Schmull. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp, 1999.

--. "Der Meridian". Gesammelte Werke in fun] Banden. Vol. 3. Frankfurt a. M.: SuhrkBInp, 1983. 187-202.

--."Ansprache anlasslich der Entgegennahme des Literaturpreises der freien Hansestadt Bremen" (1958). Gesammelte Werke in [un] Banden. Vol. 3. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp, 1983. 185--86.

--."Gesprache im Gebirg" (1959). Gesammelte Werke in fUnf Biinden. Vol. 3. Frankfurt

a. M.: Suhrkamp, 1983.169-73. ---. Die Niemandsrose. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp, 1963.

Derrida, Jacques. Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question. Trans. Geoffrey Bennington and Rachel Bowlby: Chicago: U ofChicago ~ 1989.

Eshel, Amir. Zeit der Ziisur: Judische Dichter im Angesichtder Shoah. Heidelberg: Carl Winter, 1999.

--."Celan's PoEthics." New German Critique (forthcoming). Farias, Victor. Heidegger und der Nationalsozialismus, Frankfurta. M.:Suhrkamp, 1989.

F6ti, Veronique M. Heidegger and the Poets. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1992.

Fynsk, Christopher. Language and Relation ... that there is language. Stanford: Stanford Ul] 1996.

Heidegger, Martin. "Andenken," Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 4. Frankfurt a.M.: Klostermann, 1981. --. Aufenthalte. Frankfurt a. M.: Kloster

mann, 1989. --."BriefiiberdenHumanismus," Wegmarken. Frankfurt a.M.: Klostermann, 1996. 313

64. ---. "Das Ding." Yortrtige und Aufetitze. Pfullingen: Neske, 1954. 157-80.

---. "Erlauterungen zu Holderlins Dichtung." Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 4. Frankfurt a. M.: Klostermann. 1981.

--.Gelassenheit. Pfullingen: Neske, 1959.

--. "Der Ister." Gesamtausgabe, Vol. 53. Frankfurt a. M.: Klostermann, 1984. Holderlin,Friedrich. "BrotundWein." Gedichte. Ed. Jochen Schmidt. Frankfurt a.M.: Insel, 1984. 114-19.

Jabes, Edmond. The Book ofResemblances: The Ineffable, the Unperceived. Vol. 3. Trans. Rosmarie Waldrop. Hanover: Wesleyan ~ 1992. Knothe, Rainer. AnhalterBahnhof: Entwicklung und Betrieb. Zeugen und Zeugnisse aus tiber hundert Jahren. Berlin: Asthetik & Kommunikation, 1987. Lacoue-Labarthe, Philippe. La Poesiecomme experience. Paris: C. Bourgois, 1986. Lang, Berel. Heidegger's Silence. Ithaca: Cornell ~ 1996. Lehmann, Jiirgen Lehmann, 00. Kommentar zu Paul Celans "DieNiemandsrose. " Heidelberg: Carl Winter, 1997. Lyotard, Jean-Francois, Heideggerand "thejews. " Trans. Andreas Michel and Mark S. Roberts. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota ~ 1990. MythosBerlin:Eine szenischeAusstellung aufdem Anhalter Bahnhof. Berlin: Asthetik & Kommunikation, 1987.

Ott, Hugo. Martin Heidegger: Unterwegs zu seiner Biographie. Frankfurt a. M.: Campus Verlag, 1992.

Poggeler, Otto. Spur des Wortes: Zur Lyrik Paul Celans. Freiburg: K. Alber, 1986. --.Heidegger in seiner Zeit. Munich: Fink. 1999.

Roik-Bogner, Christine. "Der Anhalter Bahnhof: Askanischer Platz &-7."Geschichtslandschafi Berlin-Orte und Ereignisse. Band 5, Kreuzberg. Ed. Helmut Engel, Stefi Jersch-Wenzel, and Wilhelm Treue. Berlin: Nicolai, 1994. 52


Schade, Waltraud. "Hotel Excelsior: Stresemannstrasse 78" in: Geschichtslandschafi BerlinOrte und Ereignisse. Band 5, Kreuzberg. Ed. Helmut Engel, Stefi Jersch-Wenzel, and Wilhelm Treue. Berlin: Nicolai, 1994. 70-83.

Sluga, Hans. Heidegger's Crisis: Philosophy and Politicsin Nazi Germany. Cambridge: Harvard ~ 1993.

Wolin, Richard, 00. The Heidegger Controversy: A Critical Reader. New York: Columbia ~ 1991.

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